Climate Change in New Hampshire (final)

Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education

Climate Change in New Hampshire

Text-Based STEM Inquiry

Nute High School & Library, Milton, N. H.

Part I: Unit Title: Climate Change in New Hampshire

Part II: Background on LMS and Math Teacher relationship

This lesson was created by Library Media Specialist (LMS), Helen Brock, and Math teacher, Sabrina Kirwan. Helen’s strengths are finding relevant sources for text-based inquiry and modeling annotation and research strategies and she requested to see Sabrina model math content knowledge. Sabrina’s strengths are math content knowledge and she requested to see Helen model student research strategies supported by text-based inquiry.

Part III: Unit Description

This unit was developed for a junior level pre-Calculus class to be taught during the first quarter of the 2016-17 school year. The lessons of the unit will culminate in each group of students creating and analyzing a mathematical model to predict the future impacts of climate change in New Hampshire and make a presentation as a group. The texts and historic data source, while specific to New Hampshire, may be of interest to other regions of the country. However, state climate change reports and climate data specific to your location may be available through state universities and meteorological stations.

Using inquiry-based reading, students will integrate, evaluate, and synthesize multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media in order to address the essential question.

Over the course of the unit, students will create a summary of data and inquiry-based readings on their group topic. Using data analysis to create a model, students will make predictions of future climate impacts. Each student will also use an online carbon footprint calculator and propose ways to reduce individual impact.

Extension activity: Proposal of ways to reduce and adapt to climate impacts regionally.

Part IV: Standards Addressed

Common Core Math Practices

Reason abstractly and quantitatively.                                 

Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Model with Mathematics.

Common Core Math Content

N-Q Reason quantitatively and use units to solve problems.

N-Q.A.2 Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.

A-CED Create equations that describe numbers or relationships.

F-IF Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.

S-IS  Make inferences and justify conclusions from sample surveys, experiments and observational studies.

Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concepts

Stability and Change: Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C3.5:  Algebraic thinking is used to examine scientific data and predict the effect of a change in one variable on another (e.g., linear growth vs. exponential growth).

Next Generation Science Standards

HS-ESS3-5 Earth and Human ActivityAnalyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

HS-ESS3-6 Earth and Human Activity : Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

HS-ESS2-2 Earth's Systems :  Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

Science and Engineering Practices

HS-P4.1: Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

HS-P7.4: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.

HS-P8.5: Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).

CCSS Science Literacy Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.8:   Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12: Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9: Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

HS-LS2-7:  Students who demonstrate understanding can:  Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.

Part V: Unit Essential Question

EQ: How can we make inferences and justify conclusions from historic climate data and scientific studies to determine future climate change in New Hampshire?

Part VI: Goals for Using Inquiry

The goals for using inquiry in this unit are to have students:

  • Examine provided texts and data
  • Select additional resources to use
  • Recognize the need and develop a plan to reduce their household/personal carbon footprint
  • Develop their own mathematical model using historic climate data
  • Justify and share their results on the impact of climate change

The media library specialist has selected a data-rich anchor text about the regional impacts of climate change and will provide support for students to access and analyze additional resources that support their specific topic.

Part VII: Summative Assessment Description and Rubric

This unit includes lessons that culminate in each group of students creating and analyzing a mathematical model to predict the impacts of climate change with a particular focus.

Each group will complete several tasks which include:

  1. Graph creation and data analysis
  2. Summary of data and inquiry-based reading on group topic
  3. Predictions and justifications of future regional climate impacts from models
  4. Proposal of how to reduce carbon footprint
  5. Group presentation utilizing technology

Extension: Proposal of ways to reduce and adapt to climate impacts regionally


Climate Change Formative Assessments

Climate Change Summative Assessment

Presentation Rubric

Part VIII: Prior Knowledge Needed

Students should have previous experience with:

  • Scientific graphing calculators
  • Reading charts, graphs, and tables of data
  • Data analysis  

Prior scientific knowledge should include the water cycle and erosion, the carbon dioxide cycle, and weather and climate change.  Students should be familiar with accessing, analyzing, and evaluating information from several sources and synthesizing this information to answer their research or essential questions. Students should also have experience utilizing annotations to help comprehend complex texts in various subjects.

Part IX: Student Learning Objectives

  1. The student will be able to identify linear and nonlinear relationships and create an equation.
  2. The student will be able to predict how climate change will affect New Hampshire by analyzing historic climate trend data.
  3. The student will be able to determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text.
  4. The student will be able to construct and present an oral and written argument based on data and evidence.
  5. The student will be able to analyze/evaluate the data from a carbon footprint calculator and create a personal (household) solution to minimize his/her carbon footprint.
  6. The student will be able to cite specific textual evidence to make inferences and justify conclusions about climate change data.
  7. Extension: The student will be able to develop a plan to mitigate personal and regional impacts of climate change by adapting our behaviors.

Part X: Text Set Description

Text Title & Hyperlink

Text Purpose

Text-Dependent Questions

Accommodations for Diverse Learners

Climate Change in Southern New Hampshire: Past, Present, and Future

Anchor text discusses an analysis of historic climate data for southern N.H. and  models future trends based on different emission levels of heat-trapping gases. This text provides an example of how to use climate trend data and provokes student engagement around the essential question. After reading a selection as a class, students will return to the text to read individual sections based on their climate indicators.

Selection: Pages 5-12 and the insert box on page 23.

This ATOS level of the text is a 12.2 (Executive Summary section) 13.0 (Introduction section), which is appropriate for 11th-12th grade year. Linked here is the Qualitative Analysis of the Complexity.

Anchor Text-dependent questions

1. Tier Two vocabulary will be defined and added as an addendum to copies of the text using

2. Specific sections/pages will be provided ahead to support students in breaking the reading down into manageable sections.

3. Handouts or links to Climate Change resources will be given.

NH: Past Present Future

Climate Trends Data

from N.H. Weather stations for use by groups of students to create models on particular climate indicators.

No questions; data only.

Reduce the quantity of data that students would analyze without reducing the quality of the inquiry.

A Few of Our Favorite Things: How climate change is already affecting them

by Jody Record

ATOS level: 9.1

Brief news article from University of New Hampshire to be read prior to the anchor text to spark interest and provoke discussion.

1. What ‘favorite things’ of yours will/are being affected by climate changes in New Hampshire as discussed in the article?

2. Why should we be proactive in addressing the issue of climate change in N.H.? Ideas?

3. Specifically, what data would be needed to predict the regional effects of climate change?

International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge

Students will use the carbon calculator to determine their carbon footprint.

Carbon Footprint Challenge questions

Analysis may be completed with a partner.

Supplemental Resources on Climate Change

Students will use this information to reinforce their understanding of the science and vocabulary of climate change and the use of climate change models.

Tier Two vocabulary

Students will have access to this document to understand words with multiple meanings.

Part XI: Suggested Lesson Breakdown/Pacing


Student Learning Objectives

Aligned Student Learning Task and Suggested Timing

Formative Assessment

Important Accommodations

Day One

(50 minutes)

Objective # 3

A Few of Our Favorite Things

If time, this could be combined with the introduction of the Carbon Footprint Calculator prep worksheet - see Day two below.

1. The teacher/LMS will monitor progress to see if students have questions about certain areas of the reading or assignment.

2. Three text-dependent questions given above.

1. Students will be able to read the article online or with a hard copy for annotating.

2. Students will have a hard copy of the questions.

Day Two

(50 minutes)

Objective # 5

HW- collect household data. ISCFC Footprint Calculator prep worksheet  (last 15 min. of class)

To provide background knowledge, share supplemental resource sheet and show the two short videos listed. (10 min.)

The teacher collects an exit ticket for a quick check for understanding with each student before they leave class.

A HW extension will be granted to students who were not able to consult with their family over the weekend.

Days Three & Four

2x (50 minutes)

Objectives #1, #3, #6

1. Students read specific pages of the climate change article on their own using annotation strategies given by the teacher/LMS.

6 Steps of Annotating.jpg (Author: Trisha Roy)

2. The LMS reads portions of the article aloud, identifying important annotations.

3. Students will write sticky notes to identify sections that require clarification.

1. The teacher/LMS will monitor students as they read independently to observe their annotation strategies..

2. The teacher/LMS will monitor progress to see if students have questions about certain areas of the reading.

3. The teacher/ LMS will review sticky notes and address questions and misconceptions during the block period.

4. Text-dependent questions given above.

5 On the second day,  class discussion on text and address sticky notes in #3 above. Introduce group topics for Day 6.

1. The teacher will provide the online article and text-dependent questions ahead of time to all students.

2. The LMS will provide an addendum of defined vocabulary for the students to use during the 2nd reading.

3. Colored print copies of figures and graphs from the article will be made available.

4. Highlighters, rulers, and sticky notes provided.

Day Five  (50 minutes)

Objectives #4, #5, #7

ISCFC Carbon Footprint Calculator

Use online tool to calculate CO2 data.  Analyze data and reflect on individual/ household environmental impact.

Carbon Footprint Challenge questions and lesson plan.

1. Challenge questions and plan may be completed with a partner.

2. Check for text understanding.

Day Six  

(85 minutes)

Objectives #1, #4, #6 (optional extension #7)

Group work choices

A) Extreme Temperature and Growing Season (text pg 13-14)

B) Annual and Seasonal Precipitation (text pg 14-15)

C) Snowfall and Lake Ice-Out (text pg 18-19)

D) Extreme Precipitation (text pg 16-17)


1. The teacher will model the use of the given data set(s) to create an equation and graph for analysis.

2. Students are given examples of models and data sets from  to analyze.

3. Teacher will model expectations of data analysis and presentation using NASA: Global Climate Change

The teacher/LMS will monitor group behavior, work completion, and check for understanding.

Summative Assessment Rubric

 Climate Change Group Project

1. Tier Two vocabulary will be defined based on group’s page assignment using

2. EPA: Glossary of Climate Change terms

3. Check for text understanding

Day Seven

(50 minutes)

Objectives #1, #2, #4, #6 (optional extension #7)

Group work and presentation preparation

The teacher/LMS will monitor group behavior, work completion, and check for understanding.

Summative Assessment Rubric

Presentation Rubric   

Data set limited to a specific time span without affecting outcome.

Day Eight (85 minutes)

Objectives #1, #2, #4, #6 (optional extension #7)

Group work completion and presentation

Peer Feedback

Student reflections on the unit (oral and/or written).

Summative Assessment Rubric

Presentation Rubric   

Part XII: Attachment of Student Work Examples

Climate Change Group Project A

Climate Change Group Project B

Climate Change Group Project C

Reflection on Student Work:

Where were our students successful?

Students were able to manage a massive amount of data to create their model.

The mathematical modeling was completed successfully. They were able to accurately model their data with an equation. In addition, they successfully made predictions using their model equation.

How well did our design incorporate inquiry?

The design was multidimensional as it incorporated different types of inquiry. We strove to make it personal and relevant with regional climate data, our land grant university report, and the student’s own household data.

How well did our design incorporate open educational resources?

Our unit design incorporated regional climate change data and reports available from our local land grant university. All supplemental materials are readily available from government science websites.

What were the strengths of our collaboration in teaching the unit?

We made good use of two different teaching areas, the math classroom and the library, for the teaching portion of the unit and the presentations.  Another strength was the co-teaching aspect, we fluidly incorporated the math and literacy lessons. We anticipated how best to support each other given our strengths and schedules.

Part XIII: Teacher and Librarian Reflection on the Implementation of the Lessons

Teacher reflection on the implementation of the lessons

What worked well:

Students had opportunities for managing, sorting, & interpreting massive data sets.

Students saw the importance of using evidence to support ideas.

The International Carbon Footprint online activity was very engaging. Students may become more active participants in their world and climate change after this unit of study.

Changes for future implementation:

Legacy project where the data and predictions from the previous years would be evaluated and updated. This would help to reinforce the idea of model refinement with new data.

Set aside more time for students reading text aloud and independently.

Re-work rubrics making it easier to delineate between exemplary and proficient when comparing student work.  Rating the student’s understanding of the data  they picked as extensive or solid was a challenge.

Take a class trip to the Mt. Washington Observatory or other local weather station to see how all of the data is collected.

Librarian reflection on the implementation of lessons

What worked well:

Without a lot of discussion ahead of time, Sabrina and I were able to smoothly share the teaching and evaluating of the lessons. This was a new experience for us and for the students; it had some bumps but the unit proceeded as we had planned.

Students came to appreciate the relevance of the unit and the work being asked of them, although there was some push back.

Changes for future implementation:

Properly introduce the purpose and scope of the unit and the roles of the collaborative teachers.  

Allow for class discussion of the individual Carbon Footprint results. This would give students a chance to see how their households compared with others and brainstorm ways to lower their impact moving forward.

Ensure that students understand the anchor text, especially the graphs and tables. Encourage additional reading and exploration of the supplemental texts and videos.

Allow for peer feedback and discussion after the presentations.

On a personal level, I would have liked to understand the math principles employed by the students to develop their models. In addition, in our building, it was hard to get coverage for the library so that I wasn’t able to be in the math classroom for the length of time we had planned.

School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning, Granite State University, Concord, NH, February 2016. Funding provided by IMLS.

Return to top